Have you ever thought of visiting Tasmania? This beautiful island situated off the south of Australia is a reminiscence of New Zealand. It’s harsh climate and landscape create one of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
I visited Tasmania twice – Once in November 2014 and again in April 2016. There is just so much to see and do in Tasmania that I am thinking of going again. Depending on what you like to do, a good amount of time to spend in Tasmania will be at least 5 nights. I’ve complied my itineraries for both trips and hope that it will spur your interest to make it your next holiday destination.
Hobart – Wine Glass Bay (167km)
We drove from Hobart airport to Wine Glass Bay. The drive took us about 2.5hours and we stayed a night at Swansea – Sheoaks Moana View. It cost us 160aud a night and we had the whole place to ourselves. The drive from Sheoaks to Wine Glass Bay was about 15min. You have to pay a park entrance fee to get into Wine Glass Bay. The entrance fee can be purchased at the information centre in the park. It took us 20 min to walk up to the top overlooking Wine Glass Bay. Unfortunately, the weather was very gloomy that day but the view was still spectacular.
There were many hiking trails around that vicinity but we didn’t have much time to explore. We just randomly drove to one of the car parks and found this beautiful spot where the water is crystal clear and some of the locals were fishing there too.
Wine Glass Bay – Bay of fires (110km)
The next day, we drove for 2 hours to Bay of Fires. We stayed at Blue Seas Holiday Villas for 150aud a night. It is about 20min drive from St Helen. I recommend to find an accommodation at St Helen instead as it is more convenient than Binalong Bay.
I discovered a really lovely cafe in St Helen called Life Buoy Cafe. We ordered burgers, a waffle and scone for lunch. It was delicious and inexpensive. Definitely my favourite meal for the whole trip. This cafe is pretty quirky too, it looks like an op shop from the outside as the shop front was selling vintage items. But it is a must to dine in this cafe if you are there for breakfast or lunch.
Life Buoy Cafe
29 Quail Street
St Helens, Tasmania 7216
From St Helen, it is a 10min drive to Bay of Fires. It is called Bay of Fires not because the red rocks along the coast look like fire but because Captain Tobias Furneaux, in 1773, noticed numerous fires along the coast set by the indigenous people hence naming it Bay of Fires. It is voted to be one of the most scenic views in the world and there are plenty of trekking routes along the coast. You can also grab some fresh oysters from the fisheries at St Helen, a dozen of oysters for 15aud and have a picnic at Bay of Fires.
Bay of fire – Cradle mountain (314km)
The next day, we made our way down towards Cradle Mountain. We made a detour to explore two waterfalls – Halls Falls and Victoria Valley Falls. The trekking into Halls Falls is what I would consider “treacherous”. There were no proper paths, the rocks were slippery and worst of all, there were tons of leeches. I had four leeches on my legs that I was freaking out and being paranoid at every single thing. On our way back, my friend saw a huge snake crossing the path that we all panicked and didn’t know what to do. Guess we aren’t the jungle trekking sort of people. So if you are like us, just give Halls Falls a skip, it wasn’t worth the hike in the first place.
The other waterfall within the vicinity is Victoria Valley Falls. This waterfall is majestic, leech-free and with proper walking paths leading to the falls. I would say it is worth the visit.
After all that climb, we stopped for lunch at Pyengana Diary Farm. If you are a fan of cheddar cheese, then this is a must-go! They make their own cheese and they have free tasters too (#Singaporeans)! I enjoyed my lunch there. The cafe has a scenic view of the mountains and you even get to see the cows roaming around the backyard.
Pyengana Diary Company
St Columba Falls Road
Pyengana, TAS 7216
It took us 4 hours to drive from Victoria Valley Falls to Cradle Mountain and the roads were winding and extremely steep. Word of advice is to drive when there is still daylight as there are no street lights along the way and the drive can get very dangerous at night with lots of potential road kill. We rested one night at Discovery Holiday Park Cradle Mountain. It cost us 170Aud for a cabin that sleeps six persons. It’s really basic and the place gets very cold at night. I would recommend staying at Cradle Mountain itself for convenience sake. The second time I went, my parents and I stayed at Lemon Thyme Wilderness Retreat and it cost us $350 a night for three pax (breakfast included). The drive out of the resort was 10km of winding road and it took us about 30min to get to Cradle Mountain. Also, there was no cooking facilities there so we had to dine in the restaurant which costs $50 per pax and the food wasn’t even good. So book early, and stay at Cradle Mountain itself.
Cradle Mountain – Hike to Marion lookout or Cradle Mountain submit or Dove Lake Circuit
I did a hike in Cradle Mountain the second time I went with my parents. We hiked up Marion lookout and went to the foot of Cradle Mountain. Unfortunately, we didn’t climb up to the submit as it was too strenuous for my folks. But I truly enjoyed the hike and the view at Marion Lookout was spectacular. It is a four hour return hike to Marion Lookout and a grade 3 climb. If you are thinking of climbing to the foot of Cradle Mountain, it is a 6-7 hour return hike and a grade 5 climb. We brought sandwiches along and had the best picnic overlooking Dove Lake.
If you still have energy after the hike, take the shuttle bus to Dove Lake Circuit. I wouldn’t recommend walking the whole circuit – it’s 6.2km and honestly, I got bored after a while.
Cradle Mountain – Canyoning
It was the highlight of my previous trip and an awesome experience. We booked the tour a month in advance as it gets very popular during summer. We did the Dove Canyon Adventure which involved trekking 30min, carrying all the equipment with us into the reserve. We then changed into the wet suit and abseiled down into the canyon. From there, we meandered through the waters in the Canyon, jumped off waterfalls, slide down logs. It was pure adrenaline rush and I would definitely do it again! However, it does require some stamina as you need to hike up the steep hill at the end in your heavy wet suit. Nevertheless, one should try out canyoning at least once in their life. Click here to find out more about Canyoning.
The canyoning trip started at 8am and ended about 3pm and I was yearning for more after that. The water was about 8 degrees but I was running on adrenaline that I barely felt cold. Lunch was provided too – healthy wraps with generous amounts of cheese, ham and vegetables provided.
Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair (209km)
There are many lookout points and short walks to take along the drive from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair so keep a lookout for it.
We stayed at Lake St Clair Lodge which cost 300aud a night for 3 pax (breakfast not included). The Lodge was really cosy with full kitchen facilities. We did a short walk to Platypus bay and shadow lake. To be honest, after hiking in Cradle Mountain, I wasn’t very impressed by Lake St Clair.
Lake St Clair – Hobart (179km)
There are quite a number of things to do at Hobart such as Salamanca Market, Mona, driving to the peak of Mount Wellington. You will get a good view of Hobart city from Mount Wellington and this view does come with a price – it’s really cold and windy up there. The temperature is apparently about 10 degrees colder than in Hobart so dress warm.
Elizabeth Street Pier
Sullivans Cove, Hobart
Hobart – Bruny Island (36km)
If you are a fan of oysters then Bruny Island is the place to go. I’m not a fan of oysters but my mom loved it. To get to Bruny Island, all you need to do is to drive to the Ferry Terminal, catch the ferry to take you across the island. It costs 38aud for return trip (tickets can only be bought at the ferry terminal) and the ride is about half an hour. There are two ferry companies that operates and it runs every thirty min. There is no need to spend a night on Bruny Island unless you want to see the penguins in the evening, if not it makes a good day trip from Hobart. There are a few must-dos at Bruny Island
- Eat oysters at “Get Shucked”
- Visit Bruny Island Cheese Company
- Visit the neck
- The lighthouse
- If you have time – the fluted cape walk (takes about 3hr return)
I hope that I’ve inspired you to make Tassie your next holiday destination. Here is an overview of the trip.
|Day 1||Hobart – Wine Glass Bay||~ 167km|
|Day 2||Wine Glass Bay – Bay of Fires||~ 110km|
|Day 3||Bay of fires – Cradle Mountain||~ 314km|
|Day 4||Cradle Mountain (Hiking)|
|Day 5||Cradle Mountain (Canyoning)|
|Day 6||Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair||~ 209km|
|Day 7||Lake St Clair – Hobart||~179km|
|Day 8||Hobart – Bruny Island||~36km|
|Estimated total distance||~1,015km|
Before you head off in planning your trip, here are some tips that I would like to share.
- Bring whatever dry rations you can – It is not easy to find a supermarket especially at Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair and Wine Glass Bay and things there aren’t cheap
- Always bring a sweater along even if it is summer
- The main chain of supermarket is IGA
- Do not speed in Tassie and keep a lookout for animals crossing the road – We had a wombat crossing the road like a granny when we were driving and had to come to a complete halt for its highness to cross the road. You will see plenty of road kill along the way and the last thing you want is a dead animal breaking your windscreen.
- Do not bring any fresh produce or diary products into Tassie as these are prohibited items. Click here to find out more about prohibited items.
- Rent a car with a powerful engine in order to drive up those treacherous slopes
- Plan your driving route properly so that you can avoid driving in the dark
- There is no telephone coverage in places like Bay of Fires, Wine Glass Bay, Lake St Clair and Cradle Mountain. The only telephone provider is Telstra, if you are using Optus and Vodafone, there is minimal coverage. But there are some areas where you can tap on free wifi. Just be prepared to cut off from civilisation for that few days when you are there. Ohm…
- It is hard to find restaurants open at night and on Sundays so be prepared to cook your own meals
- Most important – have fun, stay safe and always be street smart!